Big Red ranked 8th-greatest mascot in college football history

A WKU fan holds up Big Red after WKU’s 58-44 victory over Louisiana Tech at the Conference USA Championship on Dec. 3, 2016 at L.T. Smith Stadium. Kathryn Ziesig/HERALD

Nick Kieser

The fun-loving red blob students see running around the campus of WKU is none other than Big Red. In honor of the 150th anniversary of college football, Sports Illustrated recently released an all-time ranking of the 10 best college football mascots.

The belly-sliding Big Red came in at eighth place on the publication’s list, ahead of fellow mascots Otto the Orange from Syracuse and Smokey from Tennessee. Georgia’s Uga came in first ahead of other fan favorites like The Duck from Oregon, The Tree from Stanford and Bevo from Texas.

Since 1979, Big Red has been the ball of fun Hilltopper students and fans could not imagine living without. Although Big Red is not a distinct kind of anthropomorphic animal or representation of an inanimate object, Big Red is just exactly what he sounds like.

“The creator, Ralph Carey, told the Bowling Green Daily News that Big Red couldn’t be an animal, and he explicitly wanted to avoid any Kentucky ‘hillbilly stereotypes,’ ” Torrey Hart wrote about Big Red in her rankings. “The end result: a plush, charming, and utterly lovable red blob, with two ‘signature moves’: the belly slide and the belly shake.”

As the school year is just a few weeks away and students are moving in, Big Red will be around and the red blob will leave many personal impressions, some of which will be more distinct than others.

The 2019 WKU football season begins Aug. 29, and Big Red will make his first home football appearance when the Hilltoppers host Football Championship Subdivision opponent Central Arkansas at 6:30 p.m.

Reporter Nick Kieser can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow Nick on Twitter at @KieserNick.